Oakey Airfield

Darling Downs

Beale Street, Oakey 4401

This was a site chosen from the start to provide the RAAF with what became its 6AD (No. 6 Air Depot). Two hard surfaced runways and substantial base and camp buildings, including a number of Belman prefabricated steel frame hangars were constructed by October 1943. Several RAAF Squadrons formed and were equipped with aircraft at Oakey before proceeding northward.

It is one of the WW2 installations which was judged worthy of retention after the war and current day it serves as the base for the Australian Army’s Aviation Squadrons. Oakey was assigned a DCA LG # 871 in May 1947 and civil airlines use the strip.

It was to Oakey that squadrons returned with their aircraft at the end of hostilities for the process of demobilisation. It is the stuff of legends that during the months of systematic scrapping of rows of parked fighter aircraft that some were secreted and saved from the scrappers. Perhaps it is partly because of the presence of disused coal mine excavations in the area that such stories have gained some traction. With the passing of every year it becomes less likely that any fact will emerge from the tangle of stories about 'whole crated spitfires buried somewhere near Oakey airfield'.


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Roger Marks